U.S. Senate Sen. Schumer Sen. Cornyn on Iran Impeachment CSPAN January 6, 2020 10:21pm-10:55pm EST
they should not disdain the constitution to rush through up early - - purely partisan impeachment process and then to toy around with it. governing is serious business. the american people deserve better. a lot better than this. >> mister president. four days since the united states carried out a military operation that killed major general qassem soleimani the commander of the islamic revolutionary guard. in the days since i have become increasingly alarmed about the strike that was carried out with insufficient transparency and without consultation of congress, and without as plan for what comes next.
president trump had promised to keep the united states out of endless wars in the middle east. but that has seemingly increase the risk that we could be in such a war it is indicative of his foreign policy record which is riddled by a chaotic and uninformed and erratic decision-making without adequate consideration for the consequences. in just about every foreign policy area that president trump touches we are worse off than we were sed before. with china and north korea, syria, russia, the president has careened from one impulsive action to the next north korea today despite what president trump said is a greater threat than they have eeever been. north korea has more nuclear
weapons to either develop or be very close to developing the icbm to reach the united states mainland. that is part of president trump's bumbling the situation in syria is much worse than before. doing that made no sense to anybody and every time the president seems to deal with putin he seems to come out ahead. looking at the presidents chaotic and foreign policy around thes globe it's hard to conclude any of those situations are better off the policy seems to be characterized by impulsive and
egotistical behavior with little regard to a long-termte strategy to advance the interest of the united states. at times like this, it is essential for congress to provide a check on the president with their constitutional role of war and peace. in my view president trump does not have authority to go to war with iran. and there are several important pieces of legislation that will assert congresses authority and prerogative on these matters. senator mccain has a war powers resolution to force a debate in congress to present one - - prevent further resolution that would be privileged so senator sanders
is introduced a bill to block funding from the war with iran i support both efforts and i urge the senate to consider both in the coming days additionally the trump administration must start acting with greater transparency by law it must make a notification to congress with the military operation known as the war powers act. unusually the trump administration made the notification saturday after the action occurred and they did it in a completely classifiedas format. let me be clear the entirely classified in the case of this particular military operation is simply not appropriate op and it appears to be no legitimate justification to classify this
ennotification. so ranking member menendez and i sent a letter to the president urging d classification war and peace and the possibilities of endless war in the middle east knowledge of the actions and justification should be shared with the american people in a timely manner. americans would be asked to pay for such a war the american soldiers that would risk their lives once again. the reason mister president that gave congress the warmaking authority is very simple they were afraid of the overreaching executive they wanted to make sure that any act as important as war or
peace be discussed in an open manner by the congress to be vetted so questions could be asked anyone a strength and courage and to disagree with the president leaves a bunch of yes people who seems to do whatever the president wants. and that means having a debate in congress, coming to the people so people can hear a justification to see if it is valid is vital. the administration still has to answer questions about their actions last week among
them iran has many dangerous soldiers in the region and a whole range of possiblele responses. which response to we expect? which are the most likely? what do we know about iran would plan to do in retaliation? what are our plans and how effective is our military and cia and state department think these responses will be? what is this action mean for the long-term stability of iraq what does it mean for our presence in iraq? and what does it mean for the trillions of dollars, trillions of thousands of american lives that are sacrificed. how does what we are doing now
fit into that how does the administration plan the escalation of hostilities? how to the plan to avoid a endless conflagration in the middlele east? not one has been answered by anyone in the administration with all of the bravado there is no substitute for strategic thinking and long-term foreign policy goals and ways to achieve those goals this administration seems to be devoid of that it was when it came to north korea and syria and russia and it seems likely it is occurring with iran. the questions that i have mentioned at minimum must be answered it's an important moment for ourou nation.
the american people need clarity with the trump administration has a plan, not just a tweet but a plan to keep our troops, nation, and people safe. on impeachment as my colleagues returned from the holiday reces recess, will the united states senate conduct a fair impeachment trial for the president of the united states? whether research for all of the facts are a cover-up of a sham trial on one of the most important powers the founding fathers gave the american people. the framers gave them powers because they cannot imagine and its own status to preserve the necessary impartiality.
them to live up to that awesome and profound responsibility. at the moment there is a very clear difference of opinion about what it means to have a fair trial. i believe it considers all the relevant facts. the witnesses and documents of every single impeachment trial in history of the nation. we have never had one with no witnesses, not once. leader mcconnell likes to cite precedent but that stares them in the face and he cannot answer it. a republican counterpart believes there should be no relevant witnesses or irrelevant documents and as he made clear in his public appearance on fox news, should proceed according to the desires of the white house , the defendant in this case.
the republican leader has yet to make one single argument why they should not testify. i'm waiting to hear it leader mcconnell, why these witnesses should not come forward? don't finger point or get angry at nancy pelosi tell me why documents should not come forward that are directly relevant to the charges against the president of the united states of america. so he has exempted himself and does not want a fair trial. now it's up to every other senator. every senator will have its day to decide which of the two views wins out. will we have a fair trial or a
cover-up? will be here the evidence or try to hide it? and not me but a majority of senators will decide if we have a fair trial with facts and evidence or have a cover-up of the president's alleged misconduct? make no mistake there will be votes on each of those four witnesses to subpoena the documents we identified under the rules of the senate trial the minority could offer subject to a majority vote my colleagues on the other side of the aisle with the voice of history watching you will be required if we have a fair trial with witnesses and documents or you will say i'm running away from the facts
and go for a cover-up. a few hours ago the momentum for uncovering the truth had more momentum.is of the key witnesses i asked for, john bolton for the national security advisor to president trump correctly acknowledge he needs to comply with the senate subpoena for testimony mister bolton said he was leaving his testimony up to the courts. today he made it perfectly clear he will come if the senate asks, as he should. witnesses mister mulvaney, mister blair should do the same. we know that mister bolton and the other witnesses has crucial eyewitness knowledge
how decisions were made and how opposition within the administration to that delay was overcome. so a simple majority is all it takes so if only for republicans decide that mister bolton and the three other witnesses ought to be heard, they will be heard because every democrat will pute. t now it's up to four senate republicans to support bringing in mister bolton and the three other witnesses as well as those key documents to ensure all the evidence is presented at the outset at trial given that mister bolton's lawyer said he had information to share with those documents we have
requested to make it absolutely clear that they are participating in a cover-up on one of the most sacred duties we have in this congress and in the senate to keep the president in check. leader mcconnell was to follow ene 1990 example and then decides the witnesses and documents after the argument is complete he keeps making the argument that it doesn't gather any steam. let me respond again to the benefit of my colleagues witnesses and documents are the most important issue and we should deal with them first. to hear leader mcconnell said no witnesses now but later that's another capitulationhe. has no argument he's afraid
to address the argumentfraid because he knows it is aws lose. so he says let's decide it later. why? why? no reason so we will have all the arguments and then say maybe we will have witnesses and documents? the arguments first and evidence later? with that said leader mcconnell's view of the trial is an alice in wonderland view. first the trial and then the evidence. and more important than precedent is the fact that his analogy plainly does not make sense because you don't have both sides presenting their arguments first and then ask for the evidence after the evidence should inform the trial not the other way around. leader mcconnell proposes the
1999 precedent he is arguing we should dump the entire impeachment trial first then once it's over to decide if we need witnesses and documents again. his view is alice in wonderland. first the trial than the evidence. if the senate were to agree to the proposal the senate will act as little more than a televised meeting of a mock trial clubna. b.ader mcconnell's proposal on witnesses and documents he has already made clear what his goals are. he said it on fox news radio after we hear the arguments we will vote and move on. no witnesses. no n documents. at least 47 data on - - democrats and i hope republicans will not fall for that what he said does not sound like someone who
believes to reconsider witnesses or documents at a later date but somebody who was already made up his mind. you cannot have a fair trial without the facts and without the testimony with the related events so the president is acquitted at the end of a sham trial with no witnesses or documents that will not carry much weight when the minds of the american people so if president trump is hurting about this acquittal or impeachment you are wishing for a fair tria trial, join us to ask for the witnesses to come forward. join us to ask for theme document documents. what are you hiding president trump? what are you afraid of president trump? if you thank you have done nothing wrong, your own witnesses these are the peopl
people, come here most americans know president trump is afraid of the truth. 64 percent of all republicans who almost always side with president trump in the polling data say there should be witnesses and documents. 54 percent. trial without all the facts is a farce. the verdict of the kangaroo court are empty. it's time for a bipartisan majority in this chamber. democrats and republican to support the rules and trial. a vote to allow witnesses and documents is not for conviction it merely ensures that when the judgment is rendered whatever it may be, it will be based on the facts. we don't know what the witnesses will say.
it could be exculpatory for president trump, or it could be more condemning. but whatever they will be, we should have the facts come out and let the chips fall where they may. senate democrats believe they must conduct a fair trial. i yield the floor. >> mister president. i have prepared remarks talk about the qassem soleimani strike but i want to take a moment to respond briefly to democratiche leader. there seems to be a lot of irony involved in the question of the articles of impeachment. first of all with speaker pelosi who said this is an
urgent fulfilling of a constitutional duty once those articles were voted on in the house she has been radio etsilent and appears to be getting cold feet whether or not she will even send the articles to the senate. 's why would suggest the first thing we need to know if speaker pelosi is actually serious, because if she's not there is no reason to even begin the conversation how the senate trial will proceed. if she thinks that she can director influence the senate's decision on how the trial will proceed, one of the things i'm pretty sure of is that the senate will not replicate the circus -like atmosphere of the impeachment inquiry of the house which has been one of the most partisan undertakings i have seen in my time in the senate.
they are really grasping at straws now to recognize they did a poor job of developing the case leading to the two articles of impeachment. one is a disagreement the president exercised his authorities of formulations and the other based on the bogus idea to say i need to go to court to get direction on a claim of executive privilege that somehow mister schiff drops a subpoena or no longer seeks that testimony somehow they haven't struck - - obstructed the congress all of this without alleging any crime. t i suggest the senate is an institution that follows the rules and follows our precedent the most obvious is the clinton impeachment trial.
there we saw 100 senators agree to a procedure that allows both sides to present their cases after which there is a vote to see if additional testimony is required and there was to provide three additional witnesses. not live in a circus like atmosphere but in depositions out-of-court to be out of chamber and then those excerpts could be offered as additional evidence. that is the procedure supported by the democratic leader the senator from new york. and i suggest what is fair for president clinton is fair for president trump. it's not much more complicated that that is the most relevant precedent. now with regard to the claim that some senators are not demonstrating impartiality the senator from new york running
against the incumbent, he said a vote for me for the senate is a guaranteed vote of acquittal of president clinton. hardly impartial. now he protests too much. and i think demonstrates his hypocrisy when it comes the standard by which he holds himself and others. i'm sorry madame president i just cannot believe elizabeth moran and senator sanders would qualify under anybody's definition as an impartial juror. but that's our constitutional system prick i think what has happened they realize their case is falling short of any standard by which the president would be convicted and impeached and they are simply grasping at straws.
so on another matter last friday america woke up to the news one of the most brutal terrorist leaders in the world hadki been killed. qassem soleimani killed in an airstrike bringing to an end his decades long reign of terror. you could legitimately call general qassem soleimani a master of disaster because that defined his entire professional life as leader of iran's military. he was the head of the islamic revolutionary guard and the force which is us a designated terrorist organization. general qassem soleimani was the most consequential military leader in iran which has been designated by the us state department as a state sponsor of international terrorism since 1984. generalo qassem soleimani organized efforts to squash
democracy movements at home and abroad by any means necessary. he and his army of terrorist exported violence around the region and engaged in gross human rightsga violations against iranian people. if you are curious how the iranian government treats its own citizens look at the recent protest that started as complaints over increased gas prices. when iranian citizens took to the streets in peaceful protest the ayatollah, called them enemy agents and thugs and the government attacked. 450 iranians were killed in the peaceful protest more than 2000 injured and 7000 detained. this is not a government protecting his people but a network masquerading as a government and one of the ayatollah's most loyal henchmen was qassem soleimani.
to fuel those terrorist operations throughout the middle east he played a crucial role to foment serious civil war. qassem soleimani help to finance and aid t3 in the slaughter of the syrian people. the death toll is estimated to mbe half a million syrians and the number of refugees that are internally and displaced goes into the millions. while the greatest death and destruction of qassem soleimani was concentrated in the middle east the united states was one of his and iran's biggest targets towers bombing to the recent shooting down of the us drone and the death of an american contractor in ira
iraq, iran's actions at every turn has demonstrated the chant death to america to reality. qasseme soleimani was known to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of american soldiers. he and the iranian regime supplied penetrators that would cut through american armor that left hundreds more than hundreds maybe thousands of american soldiers disabled as a result of this deadly instrument of war. since 2003 of the 600 us soldiers have been killed by iranian proxies in iraq and many more injured. i and others in this chamber has seen their activities
firsthand at the army medical center for the intrepid in san antonio and other places where they receive treatment like walter reed hospital here in washington dc. it's the victims of these iranian improvised explosive devices were for amputation, burns or functional limb loss if theyiv survive in the first place. the soldiers are a reminder of the selfless commitment men and women make eachhs day as where as a threat posed by iran under qassem soleimani leadership. for decades since the iranian revolution in 1879, tehran has waged war and recent reports indicate that t4 - - qassem soleimani was in the midst of plotting against us and us
interest. but he has been doing that for many years. that's precisely why he was targeted. just as news of this spread so did the anti- trump rhetoric instead of celebratingra c the chief terrorist was dead and could kill no more, number of our democratic colleagues chose to bash the president insteadd and claimed his action was unauthorized or even illegal and he should've caught one - - sought congressional approval before hand. none of that is true. the president not only has the authority under the constitutio constitution, but the responsibility to defend the united states from terrorist organizations like the iranian revolutionary guard corps and its leaders like qassem soleimani. this was not an assassination. a particularly loathsome allegation made on social media it was not an unprovoked attack.
this was the president of the united states exercising his lawful authorities to protect the united states, our allies in national interest just as presidents before have done. perhaps the most stark comparison when barack obama directed the killing of osama bin laden. where were the people who nowma claim his death is an abuse of power quick settle recall anybody them calling osama bin laden and assassination. they were on cable tv criticizing we were all celebrating. some of our democratic friends simply will never pass on an opportunity to criticize the president no matter how unfair they goodness there are democrats like former secretary johnson and former us senator lieberman who said
president trump's order to take out qassem soleimani was morally, constitutionally and c strategically correct. it deserves more bipartisan support than the reactions it has received thus far from my fellow democrats. that is senator lieberman. i am also grateful for the informed comments by luminaries like former centcom commander former cia director betray us as well as ambassador crocker who both said that this action was authorized and necessary. is unquestionable the death qassem soleimani was a blow to the iranian regime and a message of deterrence to all state sponsors of terrorism. the blood of hundreds of american soldiers and soldiers is on his hands and because of the to fight one - - decisive action taken by president
trum trump, he is gone. i support this move by the president and commend his willingness to send a strong message of deterrence to the terrorists in the middle east particularly that directive against the united states for our citizens or interest. finally madam president i want to thank my senators for the great men and women in uniform who fought and continue to fight terrorist acts brought about people like general qassem soleimani and the kurdish force as part of the irg c especially those fighting and prepared to defend our interest in the middle east today. america must never back down in the face of thishi evil. our world ism safer today because qassemd. soleimani is dead and it would not be possible without the actions of president trumpas